In case you are wondering, I.M. Hammered Brewing is:
Mark -- Head brewer and drinker (brewer of over 65 batches of extract and all grain brews, drinker of many thousands of bottles and pints of beer), CEO and President of the finest Nano-brewery I know of, head bottle washer, and sanitation engineer
Liz -- Vice President in charge of bar decorating, keeping me from becoming too fanatical in my brewing habits, and is also known as "she who must be obeyed"
Michael -- Brewhouse assistant, equipment consultant, Chief IT Geek and self-appointed Official Beer Taster (great work if you can get it)
Schpankie -- Newest convert from fizzy yellow water to finely crafted beers and ales, adds little value to the brewhouse, but we like him anyway
Scooter -- The gas man (and I mean that in the kindest of ways) bringing propane and co2 when needed, also has keen interest in the brewing process
Knuckle Jefe -- Newest convert to brewing (has four batches under his belt), has began a start up nano-brewery in Kentucky known as "Double-Wide Brewing" with the catchy slogan of "double wide beers at single wide prices". Boy has a brilliant future in marketing. IMH is helping with equipment in the start up. We all work for beer, then again, why wouldn't we.
Parrot Pete, aka, Pappa Draft -- Bar designer, humidor raider, label celebrity, and Just because he should have been on the list the whole time.
We hope to make this site fun and informative and look for outside input, or inside output, whatever works.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
 
ESB....Why Ale....Brew Day...

ESB:

Here I go again. I have decided that my next brew will be another ESB. I
love this style of ale. Amber in color with good hop bite and character,
enough strength to get your attention but still sip several in a session. I
have consulted and think that I have a good read on a recipe. I am shooting
for an authentic English type ESB this time. The last batch was more of an
American West Coast version. Hoppy and good, but with limited esters due to
the clean California Ale yeast. I should have a recipe ironed out soon and
I will share that when I get it finalized. The style is great, amber in
color, nice malt character with good hop bite. Hop flavor and aroma are
almost a necessity. There should be a nice malty sweetness from a good dose
of medium crystal malts and the brew should have good head retention and a
nice "round" finish. I love it!! And I can't wait to brew another
one......

Why Ale:

For most it is the lack of refridgeration needed to lager. Even though many
experts will tell you that using lager yeast at ale temps will still yield a
great beer. My reason?? I can buy the best made lagers in the world. I
can guy Spaten. I can buy Penn Pilsner. I can get all of these great well
made commercial lagers. I can't make them to these standards. If I want
lagers, I can just go get them. Ales on the other hand are fewer and
farther between. It is much more difficult and expensive to acquire some of
the better ales in the world. Other than the few created here in regional
breweries and brewpubs, you can't just go to the beer store and have a
selection of 20 ESB's. You might find one. And these styles are more of a
mystery to a homebrewer because of the commercial versions' scarcity. If I
want a quality German lager, I can go to the store and have a choice of
about 10 to 15 high quality commercial brands. If I want ESB, I might be
able to get Fullers. That's it. Thus the mystery. Making them is well
documented in the style guidelines, and that is where the challenge is.
Plus ales ferment and mature faster. I also love the fruity esters and the
warmer serving temperature in order to truely appreciate the malty goodness
of an ale. They can also be a little cloudy in presentation. It's just
more of what a homebrewer should be able to emulate. Don't get me wrong, I
like well made lagers and I am one of Penn Brewings best non commercial keg
customers. But when it comes to brewing my own beers, give me the
ingredients to make fine high quality ales.......

Brew Day:

Now that you know why I'm an ale brewer, it's time to start thinking about
another brew day. I have too many empty kegs and need to get some filled.
That means a brew day is on the short term horizon. I'll have to be
thinking about that over the next few days. HHMMMM, brewing ESB. Now that
will be fun. I might even be drinking some ESB while brewing some ESB. It
will be in November for sure, but what are the dates for brewing. Where's
my calendar!!!!!!!!

Be sure to scare yourself into drinking some really good brew for Halloween,
which means you gotta go get it. I can't keep giving all of you out there
all of this free advice..........Oh, okay, I will.....

Mark, The Brewer, and just might be needing a Union Jack to hang in the bar
if I keep brewing these British beers.........

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
 
Neo-Prohibitionists....Your Heard It Here....Pete Coors On Tour W ith W.

Okay, I'm going to use today to get everyone up to speed on a couple of
items that you may not be aware of.....

Neo-Prohibitionists:

What you say?? Well, trust me when I tell you that they exist. This
couldn't have been more timely for the homebrewing bible, Zymurgy Magazine,
to run a very accurate and in depth story about it. There is a movement in
this country that is anti alcohol of any kind, including our favorite craft
brew. These people are well financed and serious about re-instituting
prohibition. The plan is simple. Squeeze as much they can to change
certain laws, regulate distribution, raise taxes to prohibitive levels, and
make drinking alcohol of any type a negative social more'. Can they
succeed?? They already have made major inroads and you don't even know
about it.

The laws they lobby for the most are the drunk driving laws. As anyone who
hasn't been living under a rock knows, the blood alcohol level that
indicates impairment has been lowered by all 50 states, some of them twice,
in just the past 10 years. Most states now have the .08% BAC law in effect,
down from the previous .10% level that used to be the norm. Drunk driving
is a serious offense and it should be illegal. Those who truely drive
impaired should face the music. That said, the equivalent of .08% BAC is
basically 1, 12oz beer consumed within one hour of driving for a 170lb man.
There are a couple of states looking at .06% BAC as the limit. Now I
understand that every persons biological makeup is different, but 1 beer
over the course of 1 hour will not impair virtually anyone. This is the
work of these organizations. Pop quiz: Drunk driving has increased in the
last 10 years. (yes or no). Teenage drinking is on the rise to a point
where it is considered to be "spiraling out of control". (yes or no).
College campus drinking is increasing year over year for the last 10 years.
(yes or no). What did you answer to each of these questions? We'll come
back to them later.

Regulating distribution is another avenue. They will fight that beer and
wine should not be available in drug, convenience, or grocery stores. There
is too much availability to underage drinkers by having it in these venues.
Hello!! The stores take the responsibility to check ID's. They aren't
supposed to sell to those under 21. I retailers abide by the law, and they
do because the penalties for not are very severe, underage drinkers can't
get alcohol. Get a clue. Nope, the Neo-prohibitionists lobby like crazy to
stop this avenue of distribution in most states for this reasoning. The
second ties to the drunk driving law, as they argue that people are more
likely to drive drunk if alcohol is this easlily available. See a pattern
developing here??

Taxes, oh my. These zeolots want to raise the alcohol taxes by 150%. The
idea is to make alcohol in any form so expensive that "kids or underage
drinkers" cannot afford to buy it, therefore they won't drink or drive drunk
(again a pattern here). Are they winning? Beer and liquor taxes have been
raised mutltiple times in many states already. Are you getting the
picture??

As for the pop quiz questions. A poll conducted through an independent
survey company by Zymurgy indicates that 72% of the people polled believe
drunk driving is on the rise. In fact, it is down 42% from 10 years ago.
The casual responsible person that enjoys beer or other alcohol responsibly
is doing just that. The arrests today are typically of hard core drinkers
with varying levels of alcoholism. Do these people need help, yes, but this
is a disease that needs to be treated, and these people shouldn't influence
what responsible people do. In other words, these people would drive drunk
even if alcohol was illegal completely. In the same poll, 68% of the people
polled believe teenage drinking is "spriraling out of control". The fact
is, teenage drinking is down 50% from levels 10 years ago based upon polling
of teenagers across the country. Imagine that. Finally, college campus
drinking. 75% of the people polled think it's on the rise too. Nope, down
38% from 10 years ago. As you can see, perception compared to reality is
quite different, and they have the big edge on the average person's
perception.

What can we or the industry do? In the past, the plan was to stay clear and
not cause confrontation as it was considered to be what they wanted. But
today, these groups of neo-prohibitionists are distributing so much false
and veiled information, that the industry has decided to fight back. The
industry will attempt to educate the public about the truth, get involved in
community efforts, and distribute the truth about health impacts of moderate
consumption (positive impacts I might add). It's about time as far as I'm
concerned. Also, the lobby will fight higher taxes tooth and nail from now
on. They will still avoid confrontation, but rather focus on education of
the public at large, and that includes fighting against drunk driving by
those that need help.

You can help too, but telling those you know the positive effects of
moderate beer consumption. Tell people about the facts. Let people know
that craft beer drinkers enjoy both the flavorfull beers we drink
responsibly and in moderation, and are facinated by the craft of making
them. You can make a difference on a grass roots level, just like you do in
the quest to get more real good beer distributed in your towns and
converting mega swillers to craft beer. You count. And with your help we
can win this battle against these zealots that want to control your life.
Let's beat the neo-prohibitionist movement!!!!!

You Heard It Here:

Two words. Cicada Beer. That's right, it actually has roasted cicada's
included in the mash. Why?? Good question!! Same issue of Zymurgy has
this recipe in it. Interesting read, but I'll pass on the brew, I don't
care how historically correct it is........

Pete Coors:

Well, well, well. I was watching Fox News Channel two nights ago and they
were showing a Colorado Bush rally and there on the stage, low and behold,
was Pete Coors himself. He had a seat at the right hand of ole W. too. As
most of you may know by now, Pete is running for the Senate. Looks like ole
Pete might become one of the annointed ones after all. He certainly is now
connected and has to be one of the Republican insiders if he was so
prominately on display at this type of function. How about that. Here is
where I'm amazed. There was no mention on the news program about his
appearance with the Prez. The news folks are missing it here. Pete is
already on record as to wanting to lower the drinking age on the federal
level to 18 years old and we all know about the, er, ah, twins. HHHMMMMM,
the Kerry guys just don't seem to be paying attention. Maybe Pete's voice
is one we need to beat these nazi neo-prohibitionists?? I thought you all
would get a kick out of this, and it shows that I'm paying attention. This
is probably the only news source in America that is making a mention of this
(outside of Colorado anyway). I don't like Pete's beer and the advertising
is, well, annoying if not in a real gray area (coldest tasting beer??), but
if he is for a stonger industry including the craft players, then I could be
for Pete too. We'll see what he stands for soon enough.......

Okay, enough political stuff, make sure you have plenty of good craft brew
for Halloween. Open, tilt, pour, smell, sip, taste, smile, repeat as
necessary and do it responsibly.......

Mark, The Brewer, and on the cutting edge of news reporting.........

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
 
Double Vision....More IPA Notes....Bock Update

Double Vision:

I am still experiencing some technical difficulties and again have a double
post. A thousand apologies to all of you readers out there. You know it
has to be technical difficulties because there is no way it could possibly
be operator error. No, I don't write this stuff after a "tasting" session,
so get that out of your heads right now!! I hope to have all of this
corrected today, so please bear with me and thank you for your patience.
With some luck we won't have double vision any longer.......

More IPA:

Okay, I know I sound like a broken record, but I really had my first full
pint of the IPA last night while enjoying the football game. I have to tell
you, this beer is good. It is loaded with hop aroma and flavor and has an
attention getting sharp bitterness that is smooth and not harsh. There is a
nice malt backbone with hints of bread and spice inside. The multiple
additions of East Kent Goldings hops is a hit as they have a smooth subtlety
about them in the flavor and aroma profile. I will be brewing this beer
again real soon. The only change I might make is to the bittering hops.
Challenger hops were used this round and they worked out very nicely and I
probably shouldn't mess with something that isn't necessarily broken, but
I'm a homebrewer!!!! I might move to more of a high alpha low cohumulone
hop like Columbus that presents even smoother clean bitterness for the
initial hop bite. I might up the gravity about 5 to 10 points too on the OG
if possible. I don't think there needs to be any additional changes to the
specialty grains used. This is a nice recipe and it really only cunjures up
the thought that I need More IPA and probably real soon too.....BTW, The
beer poured nicely in the glass with a golden color and a slight haze (okay
for this style of beer). The foam was a thick rocky type of head on the
beer that stuck to the glass and lasted all the way to the end. The
addition of flaked barley had to be a helper of this phenomenon. If you can
stand just a hint of haze in your beer, you will almost always get superior
head retention with a small addition of flaked barley. The head on this
brew is as white as new snow too. It looks marvelous in the glass and is
even better in your mouth tickling your taste buds on it's way to your
tummy. I prefer this style leaning more toward the English version with
it's nice esters from the yeast, clean bitterness and accent on malt rather
than the hop puckering bitterness and citrus/pine tar aroma and flavor that
dominates many of the West Coast American versions. I do like some of the
East Coast American versions as those seem to be more of a hybrid between
the other two. Victory Hop Devil for example is a fantastic beer, as is
Harpoon IPA. Yard's IPA might just be the best of them all. I just believe
that this type of beer shouldn't be overloaded with Cascade and Centennial
hops like many West Coast versions are. But that's just my humble opinion.
I can go to Fathead's Bar in the South Side of Pittsburgh (free, biased, and
unadulterated plug number 429) and find ten people that will tell me I'm
nuts. That's what makes tasting IPA's so much fun!!!!!! So get out there
and have some!!!!!.......

Bock:

The best description of waiting for a bock of any type to be ready is kind
of like watching the grass grow. You know it is doing what the description
says, you just can't see it while you watch. That said, the bock is just
maturing nicely in the carboy and awaiting it's turn through the bottling
line. The beer still has that rich golden color and I am looking for a
pretty nice beer to be the final outcome. I will be sifting through my
double dueces the next couple of days to be sure that I have plenty of them
available for bottling. HHHMMMM, maybe it's time for a gravity test so I
can see where we are on the gravity of situation, and to get a little taste
of this brew too. Stay tuned.......

Go get some IPA. Try Yard's, Victory, Harpoon, Stone, Bridgeport, or any of
the other craft makers versions that are out there, but just try some soon.
It is a unique style of brew and once you taste a good one, it will be hard
to drink much of anything else.....NNNaaaaahhhhhhh. There are so many nice
things out there to taste, how could you only drink one beer, unless of
course it's Bud or Coor's Light I guess. I still don't get how millions of
beer drinkers can be so wrong......

Mark, The Brewer, and a certified IPA lover.........

 
Double Trouble....Pub Taps....Dunkelweiss Taste...

Double Trouble:

Sorry about the double post at the end of last week, and sorry for no Friday
post. There were some serious system problems from the originating system
that caused this double trouble. We were plagued with the dreaded Amber
Alert hoax. It tied up an e-mail system that supports about 30,000 people.
Nothing was getting in and nothing, more importantly, was getting out. It
is all fixed now and I don't foresee any problems today, so if you are
reading this, everything is working just fine, but if you're not reading
this, then it isn't. See, that was easy enough....

Pub Taps:

I am two for two on the double blows the past two times I've adjusted kegs
at the pub. The Steel City Cream Ale finally bit the dust, but less than
two ounces later, so did Jefe's Wheezin' Bavarian Wheat. Say bye to both of
these as both were final keg pours. I would look for a normal bavarian
wheat sometime next spring in the April/May time frame. I don't know if
I'll do the Steel City again. I might look toward a more lager like light
colored beer this next round. It will be a late winter brew, so time will
tell on this. I might have to set up a lagering deck in the garage for some
brews so I can brew another steam beer, an alt bier, and possibly a kolsch.
Anyway, that means that there were two empty taps available for kegs!!!! On
tap number one I now am pouring Phil's Pholly Ale. This brew was originally
meant to be a little bit like a Bass Ale clone. It got a little dark and
also got a little bit more bitter with a hint of caramel. It is almost like
an American Brown light. Whatever it is, it is quite tasty with lots of hop
character and a pretty smooth dry finish. It will be what I call a WLL
(won't last long). On tap number two, and I know I have said this before,
is maybe one of the best beers I've brewed to date. On tap two will be The
15 Minute Addition IPA!! I decided to go ahead and pour keg one of this
beer instead of the Angry Dog Amber. The "Dog" would have been another
amber brew and with Phil's pouring, I figured I might want to go another
direction for now. Besides, the "Dog" isn't going to go bad any time soon.
This IPA is loaded with Kent Goldings Hops and there is plenty of hop bite,
flavor and aroma in this brew. Underneath is a solid malt base with a very
pleasant bread-like flavor. The mixture together is outstanding. I am
extremely happy for two reasons. 1. I finally made an IPA that made it to
packaging, and 2. This brew drinks like a dream. These brews weigh in
pretty hefty with Phil's Pholly holding its own at 5.33% ABV while the IPA
comes in at a whopping 6.88% ABV. I will tell everyone that ever comes to
the pub, you better get over if you want to taste these two brews........

Dunkelweiss:

Well, Jim was over Friday to bottle a carboy of the Dunkelweiss. That means
that we got a taste of this brew. We weren't disappointed!! The brew came
out great with lots of chocolate notes, bananna, green apple and good tart
finish. It is like drinking a desert of sorts. It also is a pretty big
brew weighing in at 5.48% ABV. Jim got a great yield as he filled 40 16oz
bottles and still had brew left to fill another 6 pack of 12oz bottles on
top of that. The Weizenbock needs at least another 12 days or so of rest to
be sure we have it completely ready for packaging. This brew will be
bottles only. I haven't just bottled something for a while, but at the end
of the day, it looks like it should be just fine. These are going to be two
very nice holiday beers.

I hope everyone had a great weekend, but now it's time to stock up on your
favorite craft, regional, or pub brews and to move your best homebrew
upstairs to the big fridge. It's Halloween week, that sacred of all
holidays, so ya gotta have some beer to drink ya know. Enjoy!!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and already thinking about that pint of IPA i'm going to
have later............

Monday, October 25, 2004
 
Double Trouble....Pub Taps....Dunkelweiss Taste...

Double Trouble:

Sorry about the double post at the end of last week, and sorry for no Friday
post. There were some serious system problems from the originating system
that caused this double trouble. We were plagued with the dreaded Amber
Alert hoax. It tied up an e-mail system that supports about 30,000 people.
Nothing was getting in and nothing, more importantly, was getting out. It
is all fixed now and I don't foresee any problems today, so if you are
reading this, everything is working just fine, but if you're not reading
this, then it isn't. See, that was easy enough....

Pub Taps:

I am two for two on the double blows the past two times I've adjusted kegs
at the pub. The Steel City Cream Ale finally bit the dust, but less than
two ounces later, so did Jefe's Wheezin' Bavarian Wheat. Say bye to both of
these as both were final keg pours. I would look for a normal bavarian
wheat sometime next spring in the April/May time frame. I don't know if
I'll do the Steel City again. I might look toward a more lager like light
colored beer this next round. It will be a late winter brew, so time will
tell on this. I might have to set up a lagering deck in the garage for some
brews so I can brew another steam beer, an alt bier, and possibly a kolsch.
Anyway, that means that there were two empty taps available for kegs!!!! On
tap number one I now am pouring Phil's Pholly Ale. This brew was originally
meant to be a little bit like a Bass Ale clone. It got a little dark and
also got a little bit more bitter with a hint of caramel. It is almost like
an American Brown light. Whatever it is, it is quite tasty with lots of hop
character and a pretty smooth dry finish. It will be what I call a WLL
(won't last long). On tap number two, and I know I have said this before,
is maybe one of the best beers I've brewed to date. On tap two will be The
15 Minute Addition IPA!! I decided to go ahead and pour keg one of this
beer instead of the Angry Dog Amber. The "Dog" would have been another
amber brew and with Phil's pouring, I figured I might want to go another
direction for now. Besides, the "Dog" isn't going to go bad any time soon.
This IPA is loaded with Kent Goldings Hops and there is plenty of hop bite,
flavor and aroma in this brew. Underneath is a solid malt base with a very
pleasant bread-like flavor. The mixture together is outstanding. I am
extremely happy for two reasons. 1. I finally made an IPA that made it to
packaging, and 2. This brew drinks like a dream. These brews weigh in
pretty hefty with Phil's Pholly holding its own at 5.33% ABV while the IPA
comes in at a whopping 6.88% ABV. I will tell everyone that ever comes to
the pub, you better get over if you want to taste these two brews........

Dunkelweiss:

Well, Jim was over Friday to bottle a carboy of the Dunkelweiss. That means
that we got a taste of this brew. We weren't disappointed!! The brew came
out great with lots of chocolate notes, bananna, green apple and good tart
finish. It is like drinking a desert of sorts. It also is a pretty big
brew weighing in at 5.48% ABV. Jim got a great yield as he filled 40 16oz
bottles and still had brew left to fill another 6 pack of 12oz bottles on
top of that. The Weizenbock needs at least another 12 days or so of rest to
be sure we have it completely ready for packaging. This brew will be
bottles only. I haven't just bottled something for a while, but at the end
of the day, it looks like it should be just fine. These are going to be two
very nice holiday beers.

I hope everyone had a great weekend, but now it's time to stock up on your
favorite craft, regional, or pub brews and to move your best homebrew
upstairs to the big fridge. It's Halloween week, that sacred of all
holidays, so ya gotta have some beer to drink ya know. Enjoy!!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and already thinking about that pint of IPA i'm going to
have later............

Friday, October 22, 2004
 
Bottles And Kegs....Winter Brews Are Out...Phil's Pholly Up Next

B and K:

Friday!! That's the day the dunkel gets to get bottled. Well, at least
half of it is going to get bottled. Half of it will also get kegged. Such
is the life of a batch of beer. The yeast have done their bidding, and
quite well it appears to me. Now comes time to put the brew into its fine
packaging and allow the yeast one last hurrah before they go dormant, fat
and happy. They will become B complex vitamins for our bodies after
conditioning the brew one more time. The bock you ask?? Yes, it is still
conditioning and will continue for several more days before we package it.
A big beer like that needs more time. I will be happy to give it. So that
means the dunkel weiss should be ready to consume whenever I am ready to
consume it, at least in about 10 days or so.......

Winter:

Winter, unfortunately, is right around the corner. But fear not, it is
still prime brewing time. And I plan to do that. I seems many of our craft
brewing commercial breweries have been doing just that. Many of the winter
brews are out and available in stores now. I know it's only October, but
they are now out there for our consumption pleasure. And not a moment too
soon. Penn Oktoberfest is down to one last tank full (okay, I know somebody
who knows somebody) so maybe it really isn't too early. Shopping for winter
brews is fun (although a little expensive too) and selecting what your
winter warmer libations are is pretty cool. I actually have two bottles
from last years Troegs Mad Elf. This chocolate and cherry laced barleywine
should be even better after a years worth of aging. Don't ask how I kept it
hidden all this time from She Who Must Be Obeyed. Just suffice to say that
I have the two bottles and I'm not telling where they are. Mamma Draft
might be lurking out there somewhere to swoop down and confiscate them as
well. Anyway, these brews range from hoppy and delightful to malty and
desert like. Be sure to read the labels carefully before you buy because
many of these are $30 + per case. It isn't fun to get one you don't like
very well and then have to drink it all. Well, maybe it's always a little
bit fun. Good hunting and let me know if you find anything that is
outstandingly good. I would love to try something I haven't before and I
trust most of your instincts, unless of course I know you are a Coors Light
swilling drunk........

Phil's:

I have the final keg of a special brew I made in the summer for the old
dotted line bosses' get away outing. It was loved by all who tried it.
Well, I get to drink even more of it!!!! Lucky me. In case you don't
remember, Phil's Pholly was an attempt to make a "pale ale" in the vein of
Bass Ale. I got it a little darker than Bass, and well, it has more flavor
than Bass too. This isn't a problem except it wasn't a real good attempt to
emulate Bass Ale. Oh Well, it is really a good beer so I have that going
for me which is nice. Following that beer when a second tap opens, it will
be the Angry Dog Amber. IPA and Porter are to follow in the mix, probably
around the end of November. Those brews, The 15 Minute Addition IPA and of
course the infamous Parrot Pete's One Particular Porter should make everyone
glow just a little bit. But in the short term, it will be another taste of
good ole Phil's Pholly Ale. Yea, I'm having way too much fun......

Brewing Better Beer than you can buy and serving it in
kegs???......BRILLIANT!!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and needing to change the number of brews in the header of
the web site because its way more than 65 these days...............

 
Bottles And Kegs....Winter Brews Are Out...Phil's Pholly Up Next

B and K:

Friday!! That's the day the dunkel gets to get bottled. Well, at least
half of it is going to get bottled. Half of it will also get kegged. Such
is the life of a batch of beer. The yeast have done their bidding, and
quite well it appears to me. Now comes time to put the brew into its fine
packaging and allow the yeast one last hurrah before they go dormant, fat
and happy. They will become B complex vitamins for our bodies after
conditioning the brew one more time. The bock you ask?? Yes, it is still
conditioning and will continue for several more days before we package it.
A big beer like that needs more time. I will be happy to give it. So that
means the dunkel weiss should be ready to consume whenever I am ready to
consume it, at least in about 10 days or so.......

Winter:

Winter, unfortunately, is right around the corner. But fear not, it is
still prime brewing time. And I plan to do that. I seems many of our craft
brewing commercial breweries have been doing just that. Many of the winter
brews are out and available in stores now. I know it's only October, but
they are now out there for our consumption pleasure. And not a moment too
soon. Penn Oktoberfest is down to one last tank full (okay, I know somebody
who knows somebody) so maybe it really isn't too early. Shopping for winter
brews is fun (although a little expensive too) and selecting what your
winter warmer libations are is pretty cool. I actually have two bottles
from last years Troegs Mad Elf. This chocolate and cherry laced barleywine
should be even better after a years worth of aging. Don't ask how I kept it
hidden all this time from She Who Must Be Obeyed. Just suffice to say that
I have the two bottles and I'm not telling where they are. Mamma Draft
might be lurking out there somewhere to swoop down and confiscate them as
well. Anyway, these brews range from hoppy and delightful to malty and
desert like. Be sure to read the labels carefully before you buy because
many of these are $30 + per case. It isn't fun to get one you don't like
very well and then have to drink it all. Well, maybe it's always a little
bit fun. Good hunting and let me know if you find anything that is
outstandingly good. I would love to try something I haven't before and I
trust most of your instincts, unless of course I know you are a Coors Light
swilling drunk........

Phil's:

I have the final keg of a special brew I made in the summer for the old
dotted line bosses' get away outing. It was loved by all who tried it.
Well, I get to drink even more of it!!!! Lucky me. In case you don't
remember, Phil's Pholly was an attempt to make a "pale ale" in the vein of
Bass Ale. I got it a little darker than Bass, and well, it has more flavor
than Bass too. This isn't a problem except it wasn't a real good attempt to
emulate Bass Ale. Oh Well, it is really a good beer so I have that going
for me which is nice. Following that beer when a second tap opens, it will
be the Angry Dog Amber. IPA and Porter are to follow in the mix, probably
around the end of November. Those brews, The 15 Minute Addition IPA and of
course the infamous Parrot Pete's One Particular Porter should make everyone
glow just a little bit. But in the short term, it will be another taste of
good ole Phil's Pholly Ale. Yea, I'm having way too much fun......

Brewing Better Beer than you can buy and serving it in
kegs???......BRILLIANT!!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and needing to change the number of brews in the header of
the web site because its way more than 65 these days...............

Wednesday, October 20, 2004
 
A Matter Of Style....No Worry's....Evil Empire Revisit

Style:

As some of you may have read on these pages before, brewing can often be
measured by style guidelines. There are about 30 definitive styles
currently recognized by the BJCP (the beer judging fraternity) and these are
the styles judged at competitions. Within each style are multiple
iterations or variations of each of the styles. This can get very
confusing, specifically if you are a novice craft beer drinker. For
example, the English Ale category known as Bitter. The name alone is
confusing. You expect to see some green colored pucker juice in front of
you when you order a pint, probably so full of hops that the brew has a scum
on top of it. Not so!! The style is quite nice to drink, actually lower in
alcohol and often leaning toward the malt side of the flavor profile.
What's in a name anyway. This style is confusing right from the start. But
it gets worse. Bitter can be golden in color or be copper in color. When
it has a little more alcohol in it, it is called best bitter. That doesn't
mean it's actually the best bitter, but just a little stronger version of
the bitter. Then it can become an extra special bitter. HHHMMMMM. Yes
another stronger interation, but this brew is pretty much always an amber
beer and has much heavier handed hopping. Confused yet?? Then there is the
distant cousin, pale ale. Now a pale ale can very in strenghth along the
lines of a best bitter to greater than the extra special bitter and can be
much hoppier or less hoppier than it's cousins. The color can be about
where all of the above are. I've seen beers called pale ale that are copper
in color, ala Bass Ale, and others that are very golden, ala Whitbread pale
ale. Somebody get an ice pack for my head here!!!! The stepchild of the
family is the IPA. There aren't many rules here other than the brew is
generally much stronger (though can be in the ESB strength range too) and
has a much higher rate of hopping. This is the beer that was fashioned to
endure long ship voyages to the British troops in India and that region of
the world in order to pay them their daily beer ration. It is usually above
6% ABV and hopped above 50 IBU's and often has an oaky hint to it. It can
be pale and I have seen them copper in color as well. Are you totally
lost?? Now, imagine 30 styles with multiple variations with multiple
overlaps in the variations. Clearly the options available to you as a
brewer are nearly endless. Beer judging is hard work, no wonder those guys
drink beer all the time. So remember, when you hear someone talking about
beer styles, there is a lot open to interpretation, and a lot of very fine
beers to try within the style. And the only way to get to know a style is
to sample as many of the variations as you can. It will make you a better
brewer when you try to emulate a style, and should put a smile on your face
at the same time. It's a lot more than just a matter of style........

No Worry's:

After consultation with Jim at Country Wines (totally unadulterated, free,
and completely biased plug number 421) the restart of the bock fermentation
was pretty much as I expected the answer to be. Racking does cause a bit of
oxygen pick up simply because there is oxygen in the carboy you are racking
too. Even in the total absence of any spashing, the beer will pick up some
oxygen. In stronger brews, that pickup will often re-invigorate the yeast
and restart a strong fermentation. It usually happens when there are still
some gravity points left to ferment and the yeast now have the strength to
get back to work full time. There was probably still some level of
fermentation taking place to work toward terminal gravity, the pick up of
some O2 just increased the activity. At the end of the day, the brew should
continue toward terminal gravity. I will sneak a gravity sample tonight to
get a feel for the gravity drop (and to get a quick little taste of the brew
so far). At the end of the day, there are no worry's here as this is a
pretty normal phenomenon. Otherwise, the beers both look great and are just
calmly awaiting packaging. I don't know about all of you, but I love it
when a plan comes together.......

Empire:

The Evil Empire from St. Louis never ceases to amaze me. Even with all of
the information out there about brewing and beer these days, they continue
on this fresh beer kick. Lambic's take about a year before they are ready
to drink after packaging, as do good barleywines, old ales, and Begian
tripels and dubbels. These classic beers bottle condition and age and just
get better day after day with aging. There are many styles of ale that
don't reach their flavor peak when made as real ale until 4 to 6 months.
And all bottle conditioned beers need 3 to 4 weeks to carbonate and age in
the bottle before they are ready for consumption. Even the finest Bavarian
Lagers need 12 to 16 weeks in the lager tank to be at their peak, and there
is a reason that Octoberfest brews are brewed in the spring. No, Bud wants
you to believe that beer just bottled is always the best. In their zeal for
this quest of tastelessness, AB is now in select cities going to day ship
beer to distributors and in some cases directly to selected taverns, clubs,
and bars so that the patrons can get bottles of Bud that have a born on date
that is the same day that they drink it. I'm not kidding. They are going
to put force carbonated co2 into the liquid rumored to be beer, bottle it
and ship it same day so that that fizzy yellow headache water will have a
date on the bottle that coincides with the date of consumption. What kind
of marketing hype and drivel is this??? Trust me when I tell you that this
is truely a marketing gimmick. The old world brewers must cringe when they
hear this crap. I know as a relatively experienced homebrewer who
painstakingly ages beers and tries to serve them at their peak of flavor,
cringe every time I hear one of these totally inane items. I'm not sure
which is worse really, this shameless shill or the claim that one of the
little two brewers makes (those other guys in Colorado) about brewing the
"coldest tasting beer in the world". Again I have to say it, when did
"cold" become a taste??? When I was in high school biology it was a
sensation, of course that's when teradactyls flew the earth too. Well, I'm
stuck, I'll let all of you decide which of these shameless marketing hype
gimmicks is worse. But that, my friends, will be a close race to the
finish. At least Miller appears to not have fallen into this trap of making
up the newest false claim about beer and continues to use some fresh thought
processes about their advertising. Now if we could just get them to think a
little more about the beer how it tastes............

Making Real Ale, Conditioning and aging it properly and serving it at it's
peak of flavor and at the correct temperature????......BRILLIANT!!!!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and trying to figure out what the next great lie will be
during the battle of the "Mega's"...............

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
 
Restart....Soft Equipment....Brewing Weather...

Restart:

Yesterday I found something that you don't see very often. I racked the
bock on Sunday and a funny thing happened. It seems to have "restarted" a
fermentation. Yeast has risen to the top of both carboys again and the beer
is running out co2. It is almost like the fermentation started over again.
It was day 8 on this brew and it worked really hard during the week, but
there it was. The one secondary was working hard enough to put foam up in
the airlock (though there was little headspace in the jug) and I had to
change it. Interesting. I will consult Jim on this phenomenon. And when I
find out what is up, you all will be the first to know. I retraced my step
on this one and everything was well sanitized. I had even rinsed and
sanitized the ball valves in the boil kettles for this brew. I would have a
hard time being conviced that this is a sanitation issue or infection due to
lax sanitation. It could just be that the yeast is still taking care of
business and that there is still some gravity left to come down. As always,
time and some well founded knowledge from by brewing cohort, will tell the
tale........

Soft Equipment:

Homebrewing tip for all involved. As you progress in any hobby you upgrade
equipment. Homebrewing is no exception. Most of us started fermenting beer
in plastic food grade bucket fermenters (some may still use them). They
were economical, easy to work with, and by golly it worked!! That said, I,
like many before me and most after me, will switch to glass or stainless
steel at some point if you stay in the hobby long enough. There is a reason
for this. Glass and stainless are far easier to sanitize than plastic. The
problem with plastic is that it is considered "soft equipment". There is
nothing wrong with using plastic, so don't get me wrong here, but if you do,
you should adhere to some simple rules as I present the usual least you need
to know.

Plastic Fermenters - Work great, lightweight, easier to lift and move about,
easy to rack out of, and you will make some good beer. To not have
problems, here is what you do. Inspect the buckets often. Scratches are a
no no and buckets that have internal scratches should be relagated to
cleaning. If they have spigot assemblies, those must be disassembled,
cleaned, and sanitized after every brew. Buckets that become discolored
(other than from iodophor) should be relegated to soil cleaning only.
Handle the buckets carefully so you don't scratch them. Finally, only allow
your beer to be in the bucket for 7 days. Invest in a glass secondary and
rack after primary fermentation is complete. Plastic will eventually leach
air through it and the air can cause staling or worse in your beer.

Hoses - Tubing is a fact of homebrewing. Your plastic tubing will last a
long time with proper care and sanitation. Always inspect for scratches,
particularly in the fastening end. You can cut scratched ends off for a
while until you become a little short. Always clean immediately after
racking or use. Leaving wort or beer inside promotes bacterial growth. Be
sure to properly sanitize before using. Discard discolored or old tubing
and get new. It is a very inexpensive item and can have huge effect on your
beer if old and harboring bacteria.

Other "soft" items - Any equipment that is made from plastic or soft
material should be periodically inspected for scratches and wear. Replace
anything that you are not sure of. Always clean immediately after use and
be sure to thoroughly sanitize prior to use.

Finally, always take great care when cleaning plastic items. Do not use
abrasive cleaners as they can cause scratches. For cleaning use products
like B-Brite that clean using oxygen. Always sanitize with good sanitizers
like bleach (rinse extensively) or iodophor. Prolonged exposure to iodophor
can discolor plastic. This doesn't have any effect on performance but can
be hard to look at. It is brewer preference. If you use plastic, not to
fear, you will make great beer. I would still recommend that when feasible
and affordable, move up to glass or stainless for your fermenters. They are
so much easier to sanitize and clean that you will recoup your investment
quickly just in time saved and cleaning materials saved. Good luck and
happy brewing......

Weather:

Wow, it is brewing weather. Making beer on 50 to 65 degree days is what you
live for. It's not too hot for you, and certainly cooling your beer and
quickly getting the brew into fermenters and yeast pitched makes it a plus.
This is fun and when the best brews are made in my opinion. So don't waste
any of these great fall weekends for brewing. This is what the hobby is all
about. Besides, part of the brewing process is sampling along the way, and
we all know that we like to, er, ah, sample whenever we can......

Brew, drink, read about, dream about, and live for your beer. It's there
for you, you know!!! Now get out there and brew up a smile!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and trying to make brewing season a year round
event.........

Monday, October 18, 2004
 
Must Be A Brewery....A Taste Of Pete's....What's Next...

Brewery:

When I walked into the brew room on Saturday, I must say I felt a little
overwhelmed. There were carboys everywhere and they all needed something
done. The cellarman was on the job, but it looked like a big one. It
actually was. On Saturday I prepped everything. I set up kegs to soak
overnight to get the Pete's kegged early Sunday morning, and I had to soak
the secondary carboys too as they had been sitting for a while. Yea, it's a
little overkill, but that's just me I guess. I cleaned some other items
from the fermentation of the wheat beers during the week, and had it all
ready to go. On Sunday morning I got to it relatively early. First I
kegged the Pete's Porter. I made sure to rinse the kegs thoroughly and
allow them to drain all of the sanitizing solution out of them. I filled
them with the porter and the whole process went without a hitch. This beer
finished very well, but more on that later. After that I had to clean and
sanitize the carboys that the porter came from for use with the wheats.
After all of the carboys were cleaned, rinsed, sanitized, and rinsed again,
it was time to rack the wheats. Both of these brews looked and smelled
fantastic. The dunkel weiss has a dark chocolate color with a hint of
bananna and chocolate in the nose. If it drinks like it smells, it will be
quite enjoyable. The bock has a hazy golden color that reminds me of aztec
gold jewelry. It has a spicy nose right now and looks like some of the
Belgian Tripels that I have drank in the past. Time will tell with this
one. Another clean up later, and I was starting to think that I was working
in a real brewery. I had just tranferred and or packaged the equivalent of
a full 30 gallon barrel of beer with a 1/2 inch siphon set up. I'm not
complaining, because I get the reap the benefits of the labor later, but
coupled with all the related cleaning and sanitizing, this was starting to
really resemble work here. The up side is that everything went in clean and
the new brews going to secondary looked and smelled devine. We'll get these
wheats packaged over the next couple of weeks and as always with this hobby,
time will tell how we did....

Pete's:

Pete's was the first job yesterday. It went into the kegs just fine as I
have chronicled above, but the real facination with Pete's this time was the
fermentation. If you are a regular reader, you will know that I used two
different strains of yeast in the production of Pete's this time, and that
the strain of yeast was different than the one I normally use. These were
both English strains with one being White Labs British Ale, and the other
White Labs Dry British Ale. It is an interesting combination. Here's what
happened. Both strains fermented beautifully with strong work during the
primary fermentation. If you remember, the starting gravity of the brew was
1.051. Here is what was interesting, and in retrospect, was probably what
should have been expected. The British Dry Ale fermented a little more
quickly that the British Ale and also worked down to a lower ending gravity
settling at 1.011. This left an ABV of approximately 5.1%. The British Ale
worked very hard and a little longer than the British Dry, but the ending
gravity was slightly higher at 1.013. This left an approximate ABV of
4.85%. The apparent attenuation of the British Dry on this brew was about
78.5% compared to 74.5% for the British Ale. Both were right in the middle
of the specifications for the two yeasts (indicating a very good
fermentation of the beer). This information coupled with the fast starts
leaves the impression that this will be a pretty good brew. Taste tests
confirmed this thought. The British Dry version was, well, drier in the
finish than it's counterpart. Both brews have a good mouthfeel and hints of
roasted grains with balancing bitterness on a good malt backbone. The
finish is where the difference is. With the absence of carbonation other
than what is currently in the brew from fermentation, I would say that this
is a pretty good batch. And as always, after conditioning in the kegs, only
time will tell......

Next:

Now I feel good about planning the next great brew day. I think that I will
be making an amber or ESB as I am wanting to try to emulate the classic
English Brew Fullers ESB. This will be an ESB that should start in gravity
in the 1.052 range. The hopping would be three additions using Challenger
hops to bitter and East Kent Goldings everywhere else. Fuggles could be the
second addition too. I'll have to think on that one. This brew should be
amber in color, have a nice creamy head attainable by a small addition of
wheat or flaked barley in the mash. The brew should be malty with assertive
but not over the top bitterness, and a nice smooth finish with some hop
flavor. There should be some hop nose in the initial presentation along
with some of he fruity esters that the English bitter styles are known for.
The beer will have an amber color that is driven by the use of potentially
some veinna malt in the grain bill plus a nice dose of medium crystal in the
40 to 60 LOV range. The yeast strain should be decidedly English with White
Labs English Ale or White Labs British Ale both good choices. After that,
the boys are clamoring for some oatmeal stout. Could be a nitro-rangers get
together coming sometime in November. I'll work on the brew dates and an
oatmeal stout recipe. The nitro-rangers will ride again......

Get out there and support you local craft, regional, and brew pub brewers as
much as you can. And give a hand on the next batch of homebrew that your
neighborhood homebrewer makes. There's probably beer in it for you.....

Mark, The Brewer, and as always in this hobby, only time will tell how you
did on your last batch and I have four with the clock ticking right
now........

Friday, October 15, 2004
 
Brewing Grains....Rack And Roll....The Weekend Is Upon Us

Grains:

With all of this hullabaloo this week about brewing these wheat based beers,
I'm sure it is prompting questions about grains that are used to brew.
Specifically, what besides barley can you use to make beer?? This is a
natural question and the answers are more than you might think. There are
several types of traditional brewing grain. The key with most of them
though, is the ability to create the enzymatic activity that promotes
conversion of starches to sugars during the mash. Here is where a lot of
these other grains fall a little short. They don't have enzymatic activity.
Wheat, the grain we used extensively last weekend, has no diastatic power
and cannot convert on it's own. It must be mashed with barley in order to
get the starch to sugar conversion required to make wort through the mashing
process. Wheat is probably the most common "other" grain that is used in
brewing. It lends a unique tart flavor to a brew that is refreshing and
enjoyable in warm weather, or as a change of pace. We created a variation
of typical wheat beer by adding some roasted grains to the mash and coming
up with a dunkel, or dark wheat (yummy). Wheat beers are also often the
base style for fruit or other flavored beers as well since they are so
lightly hopped and clean and crisp tasting. Another grain that has been
used over time is rye. Rye like wheat has no husk and no diastatic power.
Rye also gets very gummy during the mashing process and can be a little bit
of a pain to lauter through sparging. It tends to "stick" the mash. That
said, rye imparts a very nice tart flavor to beer that is crisp and clean
and I personally like it. The old German style that used rye extensively is
called Roggan Bier. These brews use up to 30% rye in the mash. I don't
know of any commercial Roggan biers in the US that are available, but many
brewpubs have a go at this older syle of beer. Oats have been used in ales
for centuries as well. Like rye and wheat, oats have no diastatic power,
becomes very gummy in the mash, and must be mashed with barley. It is not a
good idea to use a lot of oats in the mash either, generally speaking less
than 10%, though I have read of beers in the 20% range that were successful.
Oats are best known for their use in stouts lending a very silky smooth
creamy appearance to the brew along with adding substantial body and mouth
feel. Oats also are key ingredients in a lot of Belgian Tripels and Wit
Biers. Oats will leave the brew very hazy almost leaving the brew to have a
white appearance as in the Wit style. Tripels use oats for the head
retention and mouth feel properties of the brew. In a Tripel, a little haze
in the glass is an afterthought. Other grains that have been used over time
include spelt, and other cereal grains that border on the exotic. None of
them have diastatic power and all must be mashed with barley malt in order
to get conversion, and the husk material in the mash needed to filter and
keep the mash from "sticking". As a homebrewer, you can try many of these
grains for yourself in varying quantities. Experimentation is the key, and
if you're not careful, what you make just might taste like beer.........

Rack:

Oh, a cellarman's job is never done. That's probably how I'm going to feel
come Saturday evening. That's OK, because it means I have lot of beer in
varying stages of conditioning in my storage area, and that means that there
will be lots of beer to drink in the coming months. Just listen to this
inventory lineup:

Bavarian Wheat
Cream Ale
ESB
IPA
Porter
Bass Clone
Dunkel Weiss
Weiss Bock

If I had a seven tap brewpub, this would be a great lineup to have this time
of year. And that won't be all either. There are more brews to come,
several more brews to come this winter. There will be more amber ale,
perhaps a bitter, at least one pale ale, more porter could be in the plan,
and a steam beer needs to be made when the weather turns a little colder
outside. I wouldn't rule out an alt bier or a kolch either. And if this
IPA is good, another round of that surely can't be a bad thing.........Oh, a
cellarman's job is never done, and I like it like that!!!!!!!!

Weekend:

The weekend is here and football is in full swing!!! Good matchups abound
in the college game, and the pro's are getting harder to predict every
passing week. The weekend also means that you better stock up on some
quality brew, or move some home brew upstairs to the fridge. I like
weekends......

Now go get some cold craft made beer, and put in the fridge for use on
Saturday and Sunday. Repeat as often as necessary!!

Cold beer in the fridge????........BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and really happy about my current untapped beer
inventory........

Thursday, October 14, 2004
 
Still Going....Commercial Keg Conundrum...Why Not...

Still Going:

That's exactly what the wheat beers we made last Sunday are doing. The
fermentation is still going. Here we are on day 4 and the primary
fermentation is still underway. It has slowed considerably and the brew
should be ready to rack either tomorrow or Saturday. That's the plan
anyway. The Dunkel should be ready to package on or about the 22nd and the
bock should be ready to package about another 7 days after that. These two
batches look incredibly good. Let's not forget that there will also be an
IPA looming for some tap time as well as the infamous Parrot Pete's.
There's another keg of the ESB as well. I love this hobby!!! But in the
interim, the Cream Ale and that Jefe's Wheezin wheat are still pouring.
It's going to be a great fall of beer. I'm already looking forward to the
next brew day, but we're going to have to get all of this other beer
packaged first I think. I better check on the kegs in the cooler and get
some keg space freed up........

Keg:

Speaking of kegs, the Oktoberfest is already gone. That was a great beer.
It didn't take too long to empty that puppy out either. I went to the
brewery hoping to get another one. Nope. Just enough in stock to run on
the taps, no more available for sale. I'm just glad I got one when I did.
So, I got another Penn Pils. Its such a great brew too. Can't beat it with
a stick. The next trip, I have been given permission to enjoy some Penn
Dark by She Who Must Be Obeyed. What a wonderful woman I am married
too!!!!! She puts up with my brewing escapades too. Last week she was okay
with the brew day other than she wasn't there to have all of the fun that we
did as a group. It wasn't just a great brew day, but a great day as
well.......

Why Not:

That is the mantra of homebrewers. Why Not!!! You can't put wheat yeast in
a stout wort!! Why Not???? Those two malts won't work together in a brew!!
Why Not??? You can't put those ingredients into beer!!!! Why Not??? You
can't put that many hops into a 10 gallon batch!!!! Why Not??? Chocolate
isn't an ingredient in beer!!! Why Not??? You see, as homebrewers, we can
really try just about anything in a brew. That's what makes this hobby so
great. Don't tell a homebrewer no, ask him how!! That is what makes us go.
Experimentation with fermentable things. Sometimes it turns out pretty
good!!! I've heard of just about everything going into a beer, from cereal
out of a box, to exotic sugars, to odd spices, non-traditional grains,
flavored tea mix, to just about anything that might ferment (cactus pulp,
odd sugary fruits, etc). So if you're a homebrewer, try something that is
non-traditional in your beer. And if you're not a brewer, learn the basics
on a couple of batches, and then get creative. You never know just what you
might create!!!!

Going to the brewery, to get a keg for the house??......BRILLIANT!!!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and shaping a pretty stong fall inventory of brews for the
pub.........

Tuesday, October 12, 2004
 
Fermentation....What Yeast Like....In The Cellar...

Fermentation:

I have to share this with you all. When I got home last night from my real
job, She Who Must Be Obeyed indicated that there were some strange noises
coming from the fermentation room. Now we have a couple of the recently
brewed wheat beers on blow off tubes expecting some serious action in the
opening stages of fermentation. I figured she was just hearing the usual
gurgling sounds that go with a blow off set up. Well, I went down stairs
and actually, three of the four fermenters were just going wild. The two in
the blow off, and a third as well. Now I expected the Dunkel to take off
like gangbusters and be pretty rowdy while it fermented. I also expected to
get a slower start on the bock because of the increased gravity, and knew I
would have to watch it closesly as well. Wrong!!!! One of the bock
fermenters had literally blown the airlock apart. Now I use three piece
airlocks with a cap and an inner locking piece that sits on the gas tube
allowing co2 to escape through the bottom through a pool of water. Co2 out,
no air in. The cap and the inner piece were missing and there was the
residual of what must have been an eruption of yeast and foam through the
tube. That also means that the inside was exposed. Not to worry about
that. It was still spewing co2 out of the tube. The co2 blanket inside was
still massive and kept any oxygen from entering the fermenter. I put
another clean sanitized airlock on top and it quickly filled up again with
foam from the inside. Now all of a sudden, the other capped fermenter was
also starting to spew foam!!! To make a long story short, I had to play
stopper roulette for about 3 hours until I finally got the fermenters that
needed blowoff set up and the others had calmed down enough to stop letting
foam out throught the airlocks. What happened you ask? It was the type of
fermentation take off that you dream of. This was not a problem, but rather
a good sign that we were experiencing a first rate fermentation. Fast
start, extremely vigorous, and bacteria have virtually no chance of
survival. It makes for a cleaner tasting brew and eliminates the chances
for infection. I do know that I will need to make sure I have a blow off
set up for future wheat beers though. There is no other way to do them,
specifically if you are all grain brewing them. Thanks to the mondo doubled
starters that Jim made, we were able to really go to town on the
fermentation of these beers. Looks like these could be very good
batches......

Yeast:

I know, doubled starters??? What in heck is that?? Well I will get to that
in a moment. First, what is it that make yeast so happy that they do their
own Mt. Vesuvius imitation?? Well, first they like that nicely brewed wort.
Second they really want as bacteria free an environment as you can give
them. Third, they need a vigorous amount of oxygen to strengthen prior to
starting to propogate and eat the sugar. Finally, they need some nutrients
that are essential to them doing their business. The wort and sanitation
parts of this are pretty well known and frequently discussed in these pages.
The oxygen thing can be confusing. When I was a new brewer, the whole issue
of oxygen touching your beer confused me too. The only time oxygen is a
good thing in the brewing world is right after the wort has been cooled
below 90 degrees and right before or after the pitching of the yeast. The
cooled wort must be properly aerated with oxygen to give the yeast the level
of o2 that they need to start. Vogorously shaking the carboy fermenter can
do the trick. Once you have fermentation, oxygen contact with the beer
should be minmal. Great care needs to be taken durng racking to help insure
this is the case. Finally, the yeast need levels of certain nutrients in
order to be healty and strong. Luckily, most of those nutrients are
naturally present in fresh wort. I have been adding a little bit of yeast
nutrient (readily available at your local home brew shop) in the boil to
help insure the levels of nutrient are rich. Now, back to the doubled
starter. What that means is that Jim made a big starter of yeast. Then,
after it took off, he split that starter into more fresh wort. The effect
is making a third generation of yeast. That means that the original White
Labs vial of yeast has had the chance to ferment twice in two batches of new
wort. That means that the colonies of yeast have doubled twice, which means
that we were pitching a very large yeast count into each of the fermenters.
I know that the rule of thumb on pitching is that you really almost can't
pitch too much yeast. More yeast into well aerated and nutritional wort
will yield a strong fermentation giving a cleaner tasting and infection free
beer. And that is the way I like it....

Cellar:

No brewing this weekend coming. Lots of cellar duties though. We will be
having to keg porter, and transfer a lot of wheat beer to secondary
fermenters. That also means a lot of carboys to clean. Such is the life of
a an avid homebrewer, or any brewer for that matter. Cleaning is just a
part of the deal and sometimes seems like a never ending battle. Well, it
kind of is, but it's one of those things that we have to do. So here's to
the cellarman in any brewery. His work (and mine) never seems done....

Now, if you aren't motivated to actually brew yourself, or at least go out
to find some of these types of beer we brew, then I'm not sure why you've
read to this point. Anyway, go get some beer, and drink
it???....BRILLIANT!!!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and trying to be a good friend to my yeast.......

Monday, October 11, 2004
 
Parrot Pete, King For a Day....Brew Day Report....More On Bock... .

King:

Saturday was a fun day. The Nitro Rangers were on the prowl as we went to a
big cigar expo at a local casino. Not knowing what to expect, but that we
had plunked down $80 each to go to the show, we entered the room. There we
were. Cigar nirvana. Booth after booth of cigars, all the best brands and
some I didn't know, along with tasting booths for fine scotch, bourbon, and
other spirits that mix well with cigars. On top of that we had cigar
tickets to spend for cigars at the booths along with a bunch of raffle
tickets for the Chinese Auction at the end of the day. To make a long story
short, we 'herfed pretty much all day from our stashes and still walked out
with about 30 cigars each, not to mention the fact that Nitro One, ole'
Parrot Pete himself, was one of the grand prize auction drawing winners. He
won a humidor that I could have crawled into and taken a nap in filled with
cigars and cigar goodies. He counted another 175 cigars inside the box
(which only filled it about 1/3 of capacity) and the Nitro Rangers commenced
to do the happy dance. It was one of those golden moments that you always
remember. The down side to the casino was that the best beer they had on
tap was MGD. Yea, I know, and in bottles it was Heineken. Needless to say
we stuck with the fine scotches and bourbons. At the end of the day, we had
a great time and if they do this next year, we are so there again. You
heard me, the Nitro Rangers will ride again.........

Brew Day:

Sunday was just as exciting as we had our first big brew in the drive way.
Jim from Country Wines (shameless, unadulterated, and biased free plug
number 419) brought his 10 gallon system over and between us we made two
very distinguished wheat based brews. On Jim's system we fashioned a deep
brown colored Dunkel Weiss loaded with wheat, barley, chocolate, and other
specialty malts. Balancing hop additions with traditional German Noble hops
will make this brew quite a treat. The beer weighed in at an adjusted OG of
about 1.061. Look for a 6% ABV plus on this brew as Jim's system gave up a
huge efficiency rating for the day, well into the 80% range on this beer.
Sometimes you just hit it right on!!!!!

On my system we packed about 35 lbs of grain into my mash tun in an effort
to make a Weiss Bock. Unfortunately, my level of efficiency wasn't up to
par today and even with this massive 10 gallon batch grain bill, we could
only get the OG up to 1.071. This missed the target of 1.078 by a few
points, but hey, we're home brewers, so who cares. This brew has a very
nice deep aztec gold color about it and with some oats in the grist will
probably ferment out with a slight haze in it. It is loaded with about 45%
wheat in the grist along with a generous portion of 2-row barley and vienna
malt, along with a big list of specialty grains. This brew is also hopped
with three additions of German Noble hops and I expect it to be an
intersting brew. At mash in I missed the target mash temp by a couple of
degrees. We were well within the range, but the temperature we converted at
will definately make a bit more of a fermentable wort. So even missing the
target number, won't have much effect on the overall ABV of this brew. This
will be a strong wheat best served slowly and in a nice brandy glass. This
one will be the Christmas ale of this years Christmas Eve gathering at my
house. I actually plan to (now don't faint when I say this) bottle this
beer rather than place it into a keg. Part of the reason is the potential
that this brew could approach 8% ABV (if the yeast hold up that is).

So at the end of the day, we had a great brew day and a great brew day get
together. At one point there were 8 adult spectators in addition to Jim and
myself and I have to believe that they enjoyed watching a couple of
realtively good all grain brewers go about the business of brewing (well,
Jim's actually an outstanding all grain brewer). The beers went from grain
to fermenter in short order and massive yeast starters were pitched to get
the game rolling. By this morning all four fermenters were whistling dixie
through air locks or blow off tubes, and that as you know by now is a good
thing!!!!!!!! Look for much more on these brews when the time
comes...........

Bock:

The obvious question that some of you may be thinking. No, not is this the
classical music dude, but beer. What is this beer you call bock?? Well,
I'll attempt to tell you. In Germany, there are several styles of lager and
ale brews made. There are some very nice everyday beers made such as a
Helles, Pilsner, or Wheat ale. The next level of brews in the heirarchy are
the fest brews. These are stepped up beers that have more ingredients, a
fuller body, and of course a little more ooommmph in the ABV. These brews
are often served during festival or harvest times and during the rites of
spring. They often take their brews even another step further and create a
Bock. Now Bock actually means goat or ram, so that is why you aften see
pictures of rams on the labels of bock beers. But in brewing terms, it
means an extremely full bodied brew that is quite strong compared to the
everyday beer and stronger even than the fest offerings. These beers are
sometimes darker, but can also be blonde in color. Maibock is a great
example of that. Now there are even very strong beers brewed for very
special ocassions (like when its Tuesday) that are called doppelbocks. This
means double bock or double strong. These beers often approach 10% ABV and
are extremely full bodied, almost like eating a candy bar in some cases.
What we have attempted to create here is a wheat based bock beer. In fact,
we also made the step below that in the Dunkel Weiss. They also tend to be
more fuller bodied and a bit heavier than the regular podestrian wheat beer.
They also tend to have a nice dark color. That said, the Weiss Bock is
hopefully going to be a strong wheat based ale meant for sharing and sipping
from a brandy or similar type glass. Getting thirsty yet?????

Mark, The Brewer, and a little tired today from such a huge brew day
experience..........

Thursday, October 07, 2004
 
Mashing Tip....No More Steam....Brewing Horizon....

Mashing:

If any of you out there have attempted to all grain recently, there are a
couple of things that you probably have questions about. No matter how much
literature you read, you just aren't prepared for mashing all grain until
you actually try it for yourself. Here are two tips that will get you
started out on your way and hopefully help you gain success on the first
try. First and foremost, the grain has to have that "good" crush on it. It
really has to be run through a proper grain mill set up to crush grain for
brewing. The old Corona mill really isn't set up to do that, so if you
don't own a real grain mill that is set up to do the deed, be sure when you
buy your batch grain that the shop or retailer crushes it for you. You
might have to pay a small 10 cents per lb fee, but the extra two bucks is
worth it to have your grain properly crushed through a proper mill. To buy
a mill that is functional runs anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on how
much versatility you need. It is money well spent, but if you don't and
can't get one for your home, get the grain crushed before taking it home.
Second is the amount of mash water. This is something that often is made
very complex in brewing literature. I have been on message boards and read
massive threads talking about mash profiles and the pro's and con's of too
thick and too thin. From a science perspective, mash thickness does affect
the enzymatic efficiency within the mash itself, but these are subtle
nuances to mashing that pertain to professional level brewing that requires
consistency batch to batch, and confusing to a beginner. As usual, I am
here to tell you the least you need to know. If you have your grain
properly crushed you need to mash in that grain at a ratio of between 1QUART
to 1.25 QUARTS of water per pound of grain. Note this is QUARTS, not
gallons. The mash water should be at least 10 degrees greater than your
target temperature. I generally go 12 to 14 degrees greater than my target
mash temperature to account for some heat loss from stirring. The room
temperature grain will bring the water temperature down to an overall
temperature at about your mash target. This amount of mash water still
allows you to add hot water, up to a couple of quarts, if you need to bring
your mash temperature up a couple of degrees, without making the mash too
thin. If you follow this process and then button up your tun as tightly as
you can, you will achieve full conversion and you are ready to sparge. Good
luck and happy mashing.........

Steam:

As the caption implys, the Anchor's Away California Common Lager bit the
dust this week. Gone, see ya, caput. That was also the last of the batch.
I guess it's going back into the winter rotation because I liked this brew
and hope to duplicate the recipe and improve on the overal quality of the
beer. Not to fear as of course there is a brew ready to go on line on the
open tap. Jefe's Wheezin' Wheat Beer is ready willing and able to fill the
void. This is the last keg of that batch as well and it should be a nice
change of pace to the regular line up. This wheat is a bit more phenolic
than past batches with a more tart flavor profile, but such is the way with
wheat beers. It should be ready to sip this evening and I guess I'll just
have to give a couple a taste test later on today. Don't you wish you had
started brewing already so you could tell everone you know the same thing.
This wheat is based upon a Bavarian wheat recipe, but the fermentation
temperature got a little lower than I would have liked and as that will with
wheat beer, made the beer lean more to the phenolic tart side. It is
serviceable and I am guessing it will disappear quickly as most wheats I
make do. Not to fear, we will be replenishing our stores of wheat beer this
weekend, in fact, we might even be joining the "dark side" of wheat
beer.......

Horizon:

On my brewing schedule horizon, I see some good beers coming soon to the
pub. The IPA is conditioning in kegs as we speak and I believe will end up
a pretty quaffable brew. The porter, I'm sorry, the infamous Parrot Pete's
One Particular Porter, is getting transferred to secondary either tonight or
tomorrow and had a gangbuster of a fermentation. It will completment the
IPA nicely. Jim and I are brewing dunkel Weiss, and Weizen bock this
weekend. I see an oatmeal stout coming soon along with another ESB type
amber ale. This winter I want to make an ordinary bitter and of course the
obligatory stout for next spring. Another batch of IPA has to be
forthcoming and when spring begins to pop out on the horizon, more wheats
and another rotation of porter appear to be in order. Any way you look at
it, I intend to brew and to keep a vast array of brews available for our
drinking pleasure. I will probably even resort back to bottling to a
certain degree, but only in 22's and litres. So, here's to brewing the
finest quality ales I can......

Mark, the Brewer, and hoping to have a well used kettle by spring.........

Wednesday, October 06, 2004
 
Game On....Interesting Radio Ad....Big Brew...
Game On:

Yes, it's October and even though football season is in full swing, it means
that the baseball playoffs have begun. The evil empire went down in flames
yesterday to that team you can't name 5 players from and I like it like
that. The end result when the series starts however is that we will be
inundated with the team that is owned by the other evil empire that controls
the US beer market. Irony of sorts that there is the possiblility of an all
Evil Empire series don't you think.....And that can't be good for the beer
ads that will be played at every half inning. I hope my ears were actually
full of wax, but I heard a voice ad last night by one of the game announcers
for the sponser and he said, "Brought to you by Budweiser, your craft brewed
American beer". I hope that I was mistaken, because the lies just keep
getting deeper by all of the big three (well, actually big one and little
two). If this is what we can expect during the ad wars, Coors trying to
tell us that Cold is a taste, and that Bud is a craft beer, then I might
have to watch the games with the stereo on or something. Anyway, ignore the
lunacy and lies that have become beer advertising this fall and enjoy
America's passtime at it's best.....

Ad:

Speaking of ads, I heard one that was interesting just this morning on the
way to work. Victory Hop Devil is a sponser for a local event and the plug
for the local event claimed that it was sponsered by VHD, the best selling
craft ale in Pennsylvania......HHHHMMMMMM, I thought that was an interesting
statement. I am wondering if Dick Yuengling is on the phone to his attorney
right now, because I would be hard pressed to believe that VHD outsells
Yuengling Porter. Now I will caveat this statement as Porter is a classic
ale style, but I do believe that Yuengling makes their version with lager
yeast these days. I guess we might have to get a better definition of
"craft brewed" too. It seems Bud (see above) now believes it also is a
craft brewer too based upon last nights fib. Now don't get me wrong here, I
hope Victory outsells everybody and becomes a staple in every household,
because that means we have won the fight. I personally love Victory Hop
Devil, especially when it is served on the hand pump from a cask. I just
thought that statement was pretty strong. Let the beer wars begin!! I do
like the fact however that Victory is out there making what they believe to
be a true statement and saying it loud and strong. Trust me when I tell
you, the craft beer movement must be rattling the cages of the big one and
little two because they suddenly seem to want to act more like a craft maker
than a mega swill maker.......

Big Brew:

Brew day for Sunday is on. Jim from Country Wines (unadulterated, free,
biased plug number 415) and I are working out the final equipment logistics
and plan, but it looks like we are going to be making a lot of good beer
this Sunday. Dunkel Weiss and a Weizen Bock. These should help take the
chill out of the fall air and make for a fine warmer on a cold December
evening as well. I will have more on these brews as we hammer out the
details on recipe and yeast strains, etc. It looks like a 20 gallon kind of
day with lots of grain getting converted and lots of craft going into the
beers. Finally, the porter I made last weekend is starting to finish up
primary fermentation and I should be able to transfer this beer either
tomorrow or Friday at the latest. I will also be getting a lot of stuff
ready for the big brew day, i.e., cleaning fermenters and checking ball
valves, etc. It looks like it's going to be a big weekend of fun. But more
on that tomorrow.....Oh, and don't worry Pappa Draft and the rest of you
Nitro Rangers, an oatmeal stout is still in the planning stages and we'll
get to brewing that one real soon......

Buying craft beer to drink instead of mega-swill......BRILLIANT!!!!!!

Mark, the Brewer, and pretty sure that I know what the true definition of
craft beer is........

Tuesday, October 05, 2004
 
Gurgling Away....Extract Thoughts....Waiting For Winter Brews...

Gurgling:

Yes, that is exactly what the "Pete's" is doing. If you go into the
fermentation room, the co2 expulsion out of the carboys kind of sounds like
the noise Pappa Draft makes when he falls asleep in the big leather chair in
his den. Anyway, "Pete's" is fermenting like a champ and should be ready to
transfer by Thursday or Friday night. The secret is of course a good
working yeast starter and a 2 tsp addition of yeast nutrient into the boil
during the last 5 minutes or so. I have talked about yeast starters on
several occasions so I'm not going to go into detail again today other than
to say, getting that second generation of yeast cooking before adding them
to your wort is the easiest way to get a very quick starting fermentation.
And as we all know, a quick starting fermentation means less likelyhood of
getting any infections, and generally means a better tasting cleaner brew.
That means that "Pete's" is off to a very good start indeed.......

Extract Thoughts:

Most brewers today are still extract brewers. It's simple process and time
savings over all grain make it a great alternative for the vast majority of
brewers. It is also apartment friendly for those who want to brew and have
limited space in the kitchen. Todays extracts make some really tasty brews
too. They even often win awards during competitions. Now in my opinion you
can optimize your extract brewing by using the lightest extra light extract
you can find (either dry or liquid), and use steeping grains to add all of
the color and character to your beers. There is one exception to this rule
and that would be a munich malt extract. The only way to get munich malt
character into your beer is to either all grain mash, or try to find the
very rare munich based extract. That said, the obvious question is why not
use some of the hopped extracts, or amber and dark extracts out there.
Well, my answer is simple. You as the extract brewer lose control over the
beer. Hopped extracts are hopped. You don't know what kind of hops were
used or to what degree. Amber and dark extracts were mashed using some
mixture of crystal malts or roasted malts. You don't know what they were or
to what % of the mash they were introduced. The lightest extracts are made
from only pale malts. No crystal or roasted additions in the mash when they
were made. They are the same base for your extract beer as would be the 2
or 6-row malts that you mash in all grain beer. The character and color of
the brew can then be extracted from specialty malts in the grist, or in the
extract brewers case, the steep. To make a 5 gallon extract batch, you can
steep up to 3 lbs of specialty malts in about 2 to 3 qts of 155 degree water
for about 30 minutes and achieve all of the character and color the malts
will give you. You will extract caramel goodness from crystal malt along
with the signature red colors, or get the full blown roasted flavors from
unmalted roasted barley along with its signature opaque black to ruby color.
Mixing your extracts with your "grain tea" will color your beer to style and
give your beer the character of those steeped malts. Here is an example of
an extract stout that I have made many times with wonderful success. In
fact, the exact recipe scored in the top 5 out 35 entries in the dry stout
category in a competition once (no it didn't place, but 5th was pretty
strong given the level of competition for an extract beer):

6lbs extra light LME
1lb crushed unmalted roasted barley
1/2 lb flaked barley
2ozs Black Patent Malt
1oz Columbus Hops bittering 60 minutes
White Labs Irish Ale Yeast

Yes, this is an Irish Dry Stout recipe. Note that I don't use dark malt
extract. I use a grain or muslin bag and steep crushed roasted barley,
flaked barley (for a creamy head), and a touch of black patent malt to
acheive the roasted character that is the signature of this style of beer.
You can also use the method of adding the extract late if you wish, i.e.,
boiling the hops in the hop tea adding the extract in the final 20 minutes
to pasteurize. That is brewer preference. So if you use hopped kits to
brew today and you make good beer, make that good beer great by moving to
steeping grains, hop pellets, and using the lightest unhopped malt extract
you can find.......

Winter Brews:

It won't be long before the bigger craft makers will be releasing their
winter warmer beers. Again, the seasonal release dates are some of the best
times of the year to get some great beers. Look for them soon at a retailer
near you. It has been my experience that the seasonals are always of
excellent quality and have great flavors (not to mention a little zip in the
ABV). They do tend to be a bit spendy, but it has also been my experience
that they are well worth it at the end of the day. Good luck on your winter
warmer beer hunt. Let me know if you find anything really special out
there, and I'll let everyone know how mine comes out.....

Get some beer and drink it....BRILLIANT!!!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and remembering that brewing great beer is what it's all
about........

Monday, October 04, 2004
 
Brew Day Results....Pete's Get Altered....Guest Tap Change....

Brew Day:

It was another chamber of commerce day outside and I must say a joy to be
out in it all day. On top of that, it was a brew day and I like it like
that!! Brew day was long and hard though. Because of some time constraints
on Saturday, I wasn't able to get everything ready like I had originally
planned. I had to work on a couple of pieces of equipment, set up the
system, and crush grain on Sunday before I could start. Because of that
setback, it was nearly noon before I even mashed in. But after all of that,
everything went smooth as a new baby's bottom. On Saturday morning, I made
two 1qt yeast starters and they were doing fine by mash in time on Sunday.
I hit a perfect mash temperature of 152 degrees and it held steady for the
full 50 minute mash time. Sparging went without a hitch and I collected
11.5 gallons of wort. I boiled for 70 minutes with hop additions for 60
minutes and 30 minutes. The chiller did it's thing and I filled fermenters
and pitched yeast starters about 4:00pm. The opening gravity of the brew
was 1.051, just 1 point off of the target gravity, which means I hit my
efficiency goal as well. I had everything cleaned and put away by 4:30. If
not for a residual of that fantastic hop smell created during the boil, no
one would have known that a brewing session even took place!!!! But one
did, and it was fun, enjoyable, relaxing, and I hope I made a great brew....

Pete's:

The base recipe yesterday was for Parrot Pete's One Particular Porter. But
due to some limitations I had to make a couple of modifications to the final
recipe. The biggest change was the yeast strain. I normally like to use
Irish Ale yeast with this recipe as I believe it adds to the overall
richness of the beer. But it was not available so I had to improvise. I
used White Labs British Ale yeast in one fermenter, and White Labs Dry
British Ale Yeast in the other (yes I know which is which...). British Ale
yeast is a classic ale yeast that accents the malt character of a brew and
it is considered a great choice for virtually any ale that is British in
nature, i.e., bitters, browns, porters, etc. British Dry Ale is usually
used for strong beers because of its tolerance of alcohol. But as an
experiment, why not give it a shot here. Porters tend to finish nice and
dry and I don't expect a lot of difference in flavor profile. Here is the
final grain and hop bill:

12lbs 2-row pale malt
4lbs Munich 7lov
1lb light Crystal Malt 10lov
.5lb Crystal 60lov
.5lb Flaked Barley
1.5lb Chocolate Malt
.25lb Special B 145lov
.21lb Black Patent Malt
.04lb Roasted Unmalted Barley (I was a little short on the Black malt so I
made the small difference with this, color addition only)
2oz's Columbus Hops Bittering 60 minutes at 14% AA
2oz's East Kent Goldings Hops 30 minutes at 5.6% AA
1qt starter of White Labs British Ale Yeast for fermenter one
1qt starter of White Labs Dry British Ale Yeast for fermenter two

By 7:14 this morning, roughly 15 hours later, I had a big head of kreusen on
top of the fermenters and fast co2 expulsion. I believe we have lift off.
I'll let you all know how it turns out in a about 6 weeks!!!! (yes Jefe, it
will be ready for Thanksgiving).

Guest Tap:

Here is another great announcement for those of you who sometimes venture
into the bar. The Penn Gold keg alas finally spent itself. That isn't the
great announcement, it's actually a time for, well, mourning I guess. The
up side was I got to go to the brewery to get another keg. Well, my eyes
lit up when I was told that there were kegs of the Octoberfest to be had. I
now have one!!!! That ought to make the nitro rangers happy when they come
over next week!!!!!!

So get out there and very responsibly enjoy some fine craft made beer,
especially if you made it yourself!!!!!!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and thinking about how much I enjoyed brewing
yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 01, 2004
 
A Fungus Change....Cleaning Tonight....Brew Day Still On

Fungus:

Well, I went to pick up grain and yeast last night. There wasn't any Irish
Ale Yeast. HHHMMMMM, What to do??? Not to worry, I just picked up some
different fungus for my brew day. Instead of using the Irish Ale yeast in
my porter, I decided to try an experiment. In place of the Irish Ale yeast,
in carboy number 1, I plan to use English Ale. That's a no brainer and
shouldn't cause much if any difference in profile. In lovely carboy number
2, I plan to use a relatively new yeast strain from White Labs called
English Dry Ale. This is typically used for higher gravity ales as it is a
really good attenuator and very alcohol tolerant. The attenuation is fine
as porter tends to be a dry finishing ale anyway, and the alcohol tolerance
won't even come into play as the OG of the beer will be about 1.052 or so.
Not exactly a brew that will be bringing an 8% ABV to the table. So the
noble experiment is on. Who knows, I might even like one of these strains
better than Irish Ale at the end of the day. Just brew baby, just
brew......

Cleaning:

Tonight will be equipment inspection night and any residual cleaning that
may need to take place can be done. I have some carboy scrubbing to do,
just because, and I also want to inspect all of my hoses and valves. If
everything is in order, It is my hope to be all set up and ready to go
sometime tomorrow afternoon. I love brew days....

Still On:

Speaking of brew days, this will be two brew days in a row that didn't fall
under the "needs to be cancelled to a later date" moniker because of some
minor (or major) catastrophe. I must stop by Penn Brewing tonight
(unadulterated, free, and totally biased plug number 414) to pick up another
keg of their oh so fine brew, then it is off to the house to start getting
ready to brew. I will do some cleaning tonight and then I might even make
starters tonight. You never know and that will depend on whether or not I
can stay awake. Wish me luck getting through tomorrow and still having the
ability to brew on Sunday without any cancellation.....

Now, tomorrow is a great football day, WVU vs Va Tech, Tenn vs Auburn,
Georgia vs LSU and I believe all of them are on TV. That means get lots o
brew tonight because you're going to need at least a two day supply (NFL on
Sunday, remember??). Now go beer hunting will ya!!!!

Mark, The Brewer, and watching a brew day hopefully fall into place.......


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